(Chinese New Year 2016)
The first day of spring, new
Full moon in my sight
As I return to G-town,
That old British bastion in the sun,
To be with friends who were once
Strangers who were once dear friends.
Laughter in anticipation of
Monkey business. Fireworks rock
And the Monkey wakes to rearrange
The scenes of my childhood, making me
A stranger among blood relatives.
The quiet island life of my memory,
The fume-choked maze of today’s reality;
The seafront warehouses of old commerce,
Now historical curiosities purposeless;
The merchant streets brimming with neon-light energy,
Tonight ghost shadows of orderly bureaucracy.
Family has dissolved in the heat;
Friends have forgotten the lyrics of the heart.
The distance between me and the lovers I once held
Can no longer be bridged by
The Monkey says:
‘Dissolution is a certainty, you fool,
But so is the endless cycle of
What was, now is.
What is, will pass into history and
Await its chance to be again.
The love songs you used to sing by the sea
Are the same soul inspiration to
The young versions of yourself you see
Self-assured young men, unsuspecting of
The Law of Impermanence.
But the wheel will turn and they will be
You – just as you have become the one
Who gave you life, who in turn has
Found his childhood image and returned
To the island before life began.’
7.2.16 Penang, Malaysia